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  • Writer's pictureJohn Phillips

The Survivor Tree: Finding Strength in the Indestructible Cross

Valerie and I were so thankful for all the prayers and well wishes of so many Christian friends during the time of my recovery from surgery at home. Part of that process was trying to figure out what to do with the time that passes so slowly when you are recovering. You try to read, catch up on paperwork, do something creative but inevitably you wind up sitting in front of the TV watching reruns of “Gun Smoke and Green Acres”. One day a documentary about the Oklahoma City bombing came on the TV. The site of the bombing is now a beautiful lawn with a stone chair for each of the victims. What was a street that day is now a reflection pond. Nothing remains there from that terrible day - nothing, that is, except a tree. On an embankment across from what was the Federal building site stands a big old tree, still partially blackened by the bomb blast. They call it The Survivor Tree!

You know, it got me to thinking that for 2,000 years, men and women who are reeling from blasts that have blown their lives apart, have survived - because of one indestructible tree. That tree is the cross where the only begotten Son of God died in our place, paying for our sins so we would never have to. In that cross so many have found the strength to hold on and survive because of what Christ has done for them!

Each of us have seasons in our life when a big blast suddenly rips through everything around us. You may be going through one of those seasons right now! Maybe you've been betrayed by someone you counted as a friend or maybe your marriage is in trouble, maybe you've lost a loved one who has been a big part of your life. Sometimes we are victims of the blast of our bad choices; they leave us devastated by the shame of what we've done. Or it may not be what we've done, it may be the wrongs that have been done against us! The blast can be a financial one or a medical one when a doctor's diagnosis hits us like a bomb.

In these moments we look for something to hold onto, something we can cling to when our life has been rocked by the blast. I am so glad that we can run to the tree - the cross where Jesus died for us, where we can find and experience the love of Almighty God. In Ephesians 2:13-14, the bible says, "You who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace."

That peace is within your reach today; even at a time when peace seems impossible because of what you've lost. Jesus stands with arms wide open, waiting to forgive every sin and to heal what's broken as only He can. I urge you to take your stand by the survivor tree - by the cross - which nothing can ever blast away!


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